CBA Record February-March 2019

YLS Special Issue– Diversity of Opportunity

predicate order cannot be timely obtained. As an additional complication, given the increase in enforcement against all undocumented people living in the U.S., many parents and family members are afraid to come forward to seek relief on behalf of their children. Previously, an undocumented mother who files a custody case, or an uncle who seeks guardianship over his nephew, would face minimal risk of immigration enforcement from simply accessing the state courts. Now, however, some family members may be forced to make a heartbreaking choice: risk exposing themselves to governmental authorities, or watch their child be ordered deported due to the lack of a state court order for SIJS. It is important to note that immigration enforcement against a parent or guardian is a risk, but not a guarantee. Many undocu- mented family members who choose to pursue SIJS predicate orders on behalf

of their children are able to navigate the state court system without immigration consequences to themselves. However, the harsh rhetoric of the current administra- tion has had the effect of preventing many immigrant families from seeking the legal protections for which they are eligible. Hillary Richardson is a supervising attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Cen- ter’s Asylum Project, focusing her work on unaccompanied immigrant children and NIJC’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status pro bono program. MeredithTurner-Woolley is an attorney at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd, where she represents both Spanish-and English-speaking clients in all aspects of family law including divorce, custody, parentage, guardianship, and child support matters.


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